Responsible, great provider, protector. These are some of the qualities of a good father that comes to our mind. Yet in these times of uncertainties, some father unfortunately failed to protect or provide for their families because of circumstances or probably because of sheer ignorance.
The participation of fathers in the lives of the child are most often than not neglected because of the notion that taking care of a child is more like a maternal function than a paternal one.
According to Director Rebecca P. Geamala, DSWD 7 regional director, “Educating fathers about their role and capacity in the upbringing of a child is crucial to the development of the society. Thus, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) included in the Family Developmental Sessions (FDS) of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries the program for fathers called ERPAT.”
“Erpat” just like papa, tatay is a Filipino term for father, but in DSWD this is taken more than just a slang word for father. It is an acronym for Empowerment and Re-affirmation of Paternal Abilities.
One of the fathers who benefited from the program is Mr. Rosalito Lisondra, ERPAT leader of Brgy. Kasambagan, Cebu City.
“Ang usa ka amahan, modelo sa iyang pamilya. Siya ang mag-giya sa iyang pamilya nga matunhay ug mamaayo ang padulngan sa mga anak (A father is a role model to his family. He makes sure that he guides his family, children on the right way),” pointed out Lisondra.
“Nine years old pa lang ko, nagkat-on nako ug pangita ug kwarta (at 9, I already knew how to earn money),” recalls Lisondra of his younger days.
The second child from a brood of 4, he used to do household chores in other houses on weekends so that he would have extra allowance to pay for his school expenses.
His parents who were both factory workers in a company earned only meager incomes which could not support the family.
At age 11 until college, he had been selling newspapers to support his schooling. Despite financial difficulties, he was able to reach up to 4th year of BSECE.
In 1990 at the age of 23, he met the love of his life, Grace who hails from Borbon. They got married and blessed with four children.
“Lisod and kinabuhi sa minyo, pero matag adlaw sa akong kinabuhi, wa gyud koy laing sangpiton ang Ginoo ra gyud (Married life is hard, but I always call on God every day).”
When ERPAT was introduced in Brgy. Kasambagan in 2009, the then Brgy. Capt Jun Lim appointed Rosalito as the President of the organization in the community. “Nahimo ko’ng president sa ERPAT niadtong time ni Capt. Jun Lim.”
“Akong nakita nindot gyud kaayo ang erpat (I observed and I could say that ERPAT is really good). Sa ERPAT orientation gi focus gyud ang pagka responsible nga papa. Ang kadako sa responsibilidad ngadto sa pamilya (ERPAT orientation focuses on how to be a responsible father and how big this responsibility is to the family),” remarked Rosalito.
Despite his busy schedule as a tool keeper/sales consultant of Multicab airconditions in a company in Cebu. He manages to attend ERPAT meetings and is never absent even once. He said he saves his leave credits so that he can be present during ERPAT gatherings.
“Ang ilaha gyud nga plano (sa ERPAT) ilabi na ngadto sa mga jobless nga papa matagaan gyud sila ug panginabuhian ba or extra income (ERPAT’s plan is also to provide a livelihood or alternative income for jobless fathers).”
That is when their project called Automated Tubig Machine (ATM) which the group also called “piso water” dispenser was born. The group was able to establish it out from their monthly contributions of Php 10/member and from the proceeds of the basketball league the group has organized for all the members every weekend. Each member would pay Php 10 in every game that he would play. Basketball league is another project of the group.
Currently, Rosalito’s group has two water dispensers. They really hoped that they will be funded so that they can supply water dispensers in every sitio of Kasambagan as water is highly profitable.
“Isip usa ka amahan, imong role dinha sa organization sa erpat, kung unsay imong plano dinha sa imong pamilya pwede nimo maapply dinha sa community (as a father, your role in ERPAT is to see that your plan for your family can also be applied to your community).”
From 50 members in 2009, the organization now grows to 150, all coming from the different sitios of Kasambagan.
“Sa pagkakaron dili pa kaayo nato makita, pero sa umaabot nindot ang epekto kay molig-on ang organisasyon (We may not yet see the result of ERPAT right now, but in the future this will have a positive effect because its strengthening the organization).”
As a father, Rosalito emphasizes the importance of being a father to the family and to the community.
“Sa akoang pagkatawo dili ko moingon nga modelo ko, naningkamot lang ko nga mamahimong maayong amahan ngadto sa akong pamilya nga maoy akong mapaambit ngadto sa akong community (I do not want to say that I am a role model, I just tried my best to become a good father that can set an example to the community).”
He added, “Angay mawala na nimo ang mga bisyo. Makita sa imong mga anak nga imong mga buhat maayo, nga mamahimong sundon sa imong mga anak (One should avoid vices. Make sure that your children can see you doing some good deeds that they can follow).”
A soft-spoken man, Rosalito has been regarded as a very nice employee. “Buotan, kugihan bisan dili iyang trabaho, iyang trabahoon (He is very nice, hardworking. Even if it’s not his job, he is willing to do it.),” says Chenchen Corbita, his fellow coworker.
“Sa karon nga panahon, importante kaayo para sa mga amahan nga makahibaw sila unsa ng erpat (Its important nowadays for the father to know about ERPAT).”
On this Father’s Day, we like to honor all fathers that work hard to be a good man not only to the family but contributes to the society as well. Just like our DSWD father, Sec. Rolando Bautista who sets an example of how a good father should be. Happy Father’s day papa, tatay, daddy, ERPATS! ### (PR from Social Marketing Unit, DSWD-7)